How much do you really know about your mouth? Most people understand basic brushing and flossing, but they may not realize the myriad of factors that influence dental health. Knowing how your lifestyle impacts your teeth and gums can help you make the best choices to protect your smile.
True or False: You don’t need to floss every day.
Answer: False. Brushing alone won’t protect your mouth from decay or gum disease. Floss gets hard-to-reach areas, cleaning out the plaque and bacteria that wreak havoc on your oral health.
True or False: Taking care of your tongue is important, so you should brush it regularly.
Answer: True. The tiny bumps on your tongue called papillae trap food and bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Brushing twice a day will keep your breath smelling great.
True or False: Soft drinks and sports drinks don’t damage teeth.
Answer: False. These beverages, as well as red wine and fruit juices, can lead to enamel erosion. It’s best to stick with water, but if you consume these drinks, rinse your mouth when you finish.
True or False: It’s okay to put your baby to bed with a bottle of juice or milk.
Answer: False. When you let your baby or toddler fall asleep with anything but water, you increase the risk of baby bottle tooth decay. This condition occurs because of prolonged bottle feeding, usually during sleep. Young children don’t have good plaque removal, so these beverages provide a breeding ground for bacteria.
True or False: Fluoride reduces decay 20 to 40 percent.
Answer: True. Drinking water with fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria in your mouth produce. Since fluoride was added to the drinking water supplies across the country, childhood cavity rates have dramatically dropped.
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